Bumper to bumper traffic is common in Southern California. Unfortunately, many drivers are eating or adjusting the radio station or talking while sitting in traffic, and may not stop in time to avoid rear-ending the vehicle in front of them. At other times, drivers may be going too fast for traffic conditions and leave insufficient space between themselves and the car in front of them, and will not be able to avoid hitting the other car. If you are injured in a rear-end car accident in or near Los Angeles, our experienced injury attorneys may be able to help you recover compensatory damages.Liability for Rear-End Accidents
Unlike some other states, fault is not automatically attributed to the rear vehicle in a rear-ending accident in California. However, in most cases, the police will determine that the driver that hit your car from behind was at fault. All drivers are supposed to drive at a speed that would allow them to stop safely if the vehicle in front of them stop suddenly. When a driver cannot stop safely, it is usually because the driver at the rear is traveling too fast or too closely. Failure to drive at a safe distance from the vehicle in front is usually a breach of the duty to use reasonable care.
The most common injuries in a rear-ending accident are soft tissue injuries and back injuries (such as disc injuries). Soft tissue injuries involves damage to tendons, ligaments and muscles and can result in pain, bruising, inflammation and loss of use. The former can be difficult to prove and many insurers underrate the pain that is associated with them.
In certain cases, the doctrine of comparative negligence may apply. This doctrine allows the jury to determine whether both parties were at fault and what percentage of fault each party should bear. Sometimes the front vehicle is partially to blame, such as when the bulbs in the front vehicle's brake lights or taillights have burned out, or when the front vehicle cuts into traffic at the last moment where there is insufficient room in the line for the vehicles following to stop.
In situations like these, the jury may find that the person in the front vehicle is 40% at fault because he was driving with no brake lights, while the driver in the rear-ending vehicle is 60% at fault for driving too closely. If the total damages are $100,000, the driver in front can recover $60,000 from the rear-ending driver.Retain a San Bernardino Lawyer for Help After a Car Accident
Most rear-end accidents can be settled with the other party's insurer. However, it can be helpful to retain legal counsel because insurers usually do not offer the full value of the case initially and will offer more if faced with an experienced attorney that can take a case to trial. If you are hurt in a motor vehicle accident in San Bernardino, our lawyers can help you seek compensation. Contact us at 1-866-422-7222 or via our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation. We also represent clients in Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, and Temecula.